Does Lebron James Have the Clutch Gene?

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After a dismal performance in game four of the NBA Finals, Lebron James is back on the proverbial hot seat of players who have the talent to win rings but ultimately fall short of their final goal.

Many fans and analysts have questioned, whether or not, that Lebron has the gene that allows him to make big shots when his team needs them. As dubbed by ESPN’s Skip Bayless, the “clutch gene” is something that a big-time player has to help his team win in the final minutes of a game. From recent memory, Lebron James has had moments where he carried his team to victory, the Cavalier Lebron in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons, scored the last 25 points to give Cleveland a double-overtime win in game five on their way to the NBA Finals.

More recently before the infamous decision, Lebron James hit a game-winning shot against the Orlando Magic in 2009 Eastern Conference Finals game two to steal a victory from the jaws of defeat. From these examples, it appears that he has it.

So, why do we have this conversation about Lebron James and the “Clutch Gene?” Well, it’s relatively simple, Lebron has not won a ring during his time in the National Basketball Association. He has won MVP’s and Olympic Gold Medals but hasn’t claimed the NBA’s featured prize.  It’s almost the equivalent of being a television star and winning every other accolade except for the Emmy.

Many other NBA players had to deal with the same issues as Lebron but didn’t have the constant 24-7 media culture that we currently live in. Everything is overanalyzed to the point that sometimes, we forget that the game itself is played in the moment and not on the replay.  Lebron has become the most polarizing figure in the National Basketball Association due to “The Decision” and sports writer have a field day at his failures, if their opinions are justified or not.

After “The Decision” was made, people questioned whether or not, three superstars could exist and how would Lebron’s play have to change when he wasn’t the top dog. For now, it looks like that he has become a facilitator of the offense and has to pick and choose along the lines of scoring the basketball from he has it in his hands. So, it would seem obvious that he isn’t going to appear to be performing at the highest level.

The “Clutch Gene” still exists in Lebron’s world and there are times that we see flashes of it but with his current situation, Lebron doesn’t need to have to take over games like he used to. However, Lebron will have to step up at some point during these Finals if he wants to claim the ultimate prize and silence the critics of the “Clutch Gene” phenomena.

For now, the “Clutch Gene” is something Lebron needs to find again.